About 100 south-west residents rallied in support of Ukrainians at a vigil held at Warrnambool's Civic Green today.
Event part-organiser Oksana Yakushchenko moved to Warrnambool three years ago and says her parents are in a bomb shelter near Kherson, a city in south Ukraine, while her brothers are fighting in the military.
"My family and my husband's family all live in Ukraine - they're all safe at the moment," she said.
"They're sitting in the bomb shelters, my brothers are in the military and I don't know exactly where they are or what they're doing, but at least I know they're alive. They keep sending messages saying they're okay and to stay positive.
"They are almost supporting us more than we are supporting them."
Latest reports state Russian troops entered the city of Kherson on March 1.
Ms Yakushchenko said the rally, which began at about 5.30pm, was to show support for the Ukrainian community.
"We want to show that we are a peaceful nation and we are against war," she said.
"It's to support the Ukrainian community and Ukrainians everywhere around the world. The initial idea was to ask people to come down and give us a hug and stand with us for a couple of minutes showing that they support us, which is really crucial at the moment.
"We are so far away from our relatives and our country. We can't hug them and we can't support them and we can't even imagine how difficult it is for them now."
"It is so difficult for us, but when we think about our relatives it's just about what we can do for them here and how we can show we're supporting them."
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Warrnambool resident of seven years Olena Naumenkova, from Mykolaiv, said she wanted people to support Ukraine "in the fight for freedom, for peace and their home."
"The first reaction I had to the news was the inability to believe what was happening," she said.
"Then it was fear and the numbing horror for our loved ones ... and so it continues every day now, this is our new reality. We are always in touch with our families, friends and relatives. We wake up at night to send messages like 'Are you ok?' and we wince at every phone call.
"We watch and read the news just non-stop."
Warrnambool mayor Richard Ziegeler "condemned" the attack on Ukraine.
"The attack on Ukraine is to be condemned," he said.
"Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and those in Australia with connections to Ukraine.
"We're hoping that the reported talks between the two countries can bring about a peaceful resolution.
"Unfortunately the conflict has already taken a heavy toll."
Heywood resident and co-coordinator of the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network's Victorian branch Julie Hart also held a rally at the Civic Green earlier today.
She said it was a chance for the south-west community to express opinions.
"This moment in time and in history is very confronting and difficult for people," she said.
"You're not sure what's going to happen the next day. We're all suffering in our own ways, it seems every time you turn on the television it's end days and we don't want that to happen.
"There is no climate for war anymore, we can't keep fighting one another."
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